J. Alex Lang

Conrail Train Symbol Nerdology

This past weekend (Jan 13, 2024) I gave a presentation about Conrail Train Symbols at the Conrail Historical Society‘s 1st Quarterly membership meeting, held at the Power Director’s Office in Harrisburg, PA, maintained by the Harrisburg Chapter, NRHS. The Harrisburg Chapter is a must-visit when in the area, as both the Harris Tower and the […]

20 Cylinders on the East Slope

“Man…” I thought, “I’m not getting out of bed for this!” John Z had just burst into the room explaining that a train was stopped outside The Station Inn, with a rare SD45-2 being towed behind the newer, more typical Norfolk Southern locomotives that pass by here daily. I reasoned that breakfast was more important.  […]

Requiem for “The D&H”

Those who know me, know that I’ve never been much of a fan of sports.  I am, however, a fan of the railroad industry.  And at the end of this week, a piece of historic railroad changed hands, leaving me feeling like Baltimore fans must have felt when the Colts packed up late one night […]

Photographing the Norfolk Southern Heritage Units

After the 2012 release of Norfolk Southern Corp’s twenty “Heritage Locomotives”, many camera-toting rail enthusiasts sought to photograph all twenty.  Many of us (me included) made the trek to Spencer, North Carolina, where NS partnered with the North Carolina Transportation Museum to display all 20 in one location: But this is shooting fish in a […]

Heritage locomotives in Pittsburgh

As of late, many of Norfolk Southern’s famous Heritage fleet of 20 locomotives – modern diesels painted in historic liveries for 20 of NS’s predecessor railroads – have been passing through Pittsburgh.  Many of these have been making long-distance trips from the Bakken Shale (in the Dakotas) bringing crude oil east to refineries in Delaware […]

Trip Report – Position Light Signals

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent any sort of trip report, as it’s been awhile since I’ve been on any sort of trip.  With baby Allison now at 7 weeks, my wife was ready to get me out of the house.  I greased the wheels by cooking some good food, and making sure my wife […]

Scanning slides

I recently acquired a collection of approximately 8000 railroad slides, mostly Kodachromes, spanning the late 1960’s to sometime in the 1990’s; these were taken by a longtime friend, Peter McGilligan, upon his passing in October, 2012. After giving it some thought, we bought a Pacific Image PowerSlide 5000, and am now scanning 100 slides at […]

My own railroad signal…

After years of lust I finally sought out my very own signal. I wanted a dwarf signal – usually used in junctions and yard where clearances are minimal – because, well, let’s face it. I can put a small one in the house, and not need a crane and concrete to stand it up.  So […]

Cadiz Yard, Eastbound

[box style=”rounded”][/box] The sun’s been up for awhile, and it’s hot enough for March – but we’re enjoying the parade of eastbounds passing through the small interchange yard at Cadiz, California along BNSF’s Needles Sub. While I never got to see the “real” Santa Fe in action, it was good enough for me to watch […]

Ash Hill, Westbound

[box style=”rounded”][/box] A bird (hey, I’m a railfan, not an ornithologist!) is perched atop a telegraph pole, while a BNSF crew gives a quick blast of the horn to the signal maintainers standing by in their trucks, as we hear the squeal of 85-foot flatcars hustling Schneider and Hunt trailers to their west coast destination.